Abdelhamid Abaaoud, the suspected mastermind behind the Paris terror attacks that killed 129, was killed by police in a predawn raid on Wednesday, senior intelligence sources told the Washington Post.
Abaaoud was reportedly killed as part of a successful raid on a terror cell holed up in an apartment complex in the Paris suburb of Saint-Denis, an operation initiated with the express purpose of locating Abaaoud.
The raid resulted in at least two deaths (one of which was a female suicide bomber) and seven arrests, although French prosecutors emphasized that they do not have an exact death toll yet.
Prosecutors stated during a press conference Wednesday that the operation has neutralized a "terrorist team planning new attacks."
French prosecutors said they were "not in a position" to identify those killed by police to the press, but they did note that Abaaoud was not among those arrested, suggesting that the ISIS ringleader may be among the dead. In the immediate aftermath of the operation, investigators were reportedly analyzing body parts from the suicide bombing to see if he was among them.
While the Post report is based on a confirmation made "after forsenic experts combed through the aftermath — blown-out windows, floors collapsed by explosions — presumably seeking DNA and other evidence," no other media outlets could not immediately confirm this report.
Abaaoud, a Belgian national, has been a person of interest to European counterterrorism officials for some time due to his ties to ISIS militants, according to CNN:
Abaaoud, in his late 20s, is believed to be close to ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, and is probably the link between the senior ISIS leadership and ISIS operatives in Europe, European counterterrorism officials have said.
Abaaoud, who lived at one point in Molenbeek — where several raids were conducted this week — was apparently in touch by phone with the three ISIS fighters targeted in a January raid [following the Charlie Hebdo massacre].
In the weeks preceding the January raid, Belgian counterterrorism agencies traced the calls to a cell phone in Greece that they believed was being used by Abaaoud, according to a senior Belgian counterterrorism official. Other intelligence-gathering indicated that Abaaoud was linked to several senior ISIS operatives in Syria. Belgian investigators believe ISIS senior leadership directed the cell to launch the thwarted attack in Belgium, according to the official.
Abaaoud is such a monster that his own family celebrated the (premature) news of his death last year, according to the New York Times. Good riddance.
Photos by Getty Images